September 3, 2017 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints
HOPPE HURLS SAINTS TO 4-3 VICTORY, SNAPPING SEVEN GAME SLIDE
KANSAS CITY, KS (September 2, 2017) - The St. Paul Saints waited a long time to shake hands at the end of a ballgame, but on Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark Jason Hoppe made sure they had the chance. The Minnesota State Unviersity Mankato standout dazzled for 7.0 innings and the Saints hung on at the end to defeat the Kansas City T-Bones 4-3. The win snapped a seven game losing streak and improved the Saints to 48-50 and knocked the T-Bones from the top spot in the Wild Card race.
Hoppe didn't allow a hit in the first two innings and the lone run he gave up was unearned in the third. With one out Tucker Pennell singled to center. Cedric Hunter then hit a line drive to second that was caught by Mitch Delfino. He tried to double up Pennell at first, but his throw got by first baseman Dan Johnson. Pennell raced to second and catcher Maxx Garrett picked up the ball, fired a throw to second, but the ball hit off of Pennell and went into shallow left. That allowed Pennell to take third. Marcus Lemon then hit a check swing slow roller to third that Nate Hanson barehanded, but his throw to first was too late and Pennell scored giving the T-Bones a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth Hoppe ran into a small jam with two outs when Chantz Mack doubled and advanced to third on a single from Kyle Petty, who took second on the throw home. Hoppe would get Zane Chavez to fly out to end the inning.
In the sixth Hoppe once again got out of a two on, two out jam. With two outs Niko Vasquez singled and Mack walked. A wild pitch moved the runners up, but Hoppe retired Petty on a line out to right. Hoppe went 7.0 innings allowing one unearned run on five hits while walking two and striking out two.
The Saints took the lead in the fourth as Dan Johnson and Nate Hanson led off with back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. Kes Carter's fielder's choice put runners at the corners with one out. Carter then stole second and Mitch Delfino gave the Saints a 2-1 lead with a two-run single to right.
In the fifth Tim Colwell led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a bunt single from Ben Buerkle. With one out Johnson made it 3-1 with an RBI single to right. Johnson finished the night 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Saints added to their lead in the eighth when the Saints loaded the bases on a walk to Brady Shoemaker, a Johnson single and Carter getting hit by a pitch. Delfino knocked in his third run of the night with a sacrifice fly giving the Saints a 4-1 lead. Delfino was 1-3 with three RBI.
The T-Bones made it close in the eighth against reliever Vinny Nittoli. Lemon led off with a single to right. With one out Jordan Edgerton singled to center putting runners at first and second. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third with two outs. Mack knocked home both runs with a single to left cutting the Saints lead to one. Nittoli struck out Petty to end the inning.
In the ninth Ken Frosch retired the first two hitters before walking Hunter. With the tying run aboard Frosch struck out Lemon to earn his first save of the season.
The same two teams meet in the third game of the four game series on Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (7-7, 5.19) to the mound against T-Bones RHP Jared Mortsensen (8-1, 2.84). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.